Saudi tankers ship oil again in Bab Al-Mandeb

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General view of Saudi Aramco's Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in eastern Saudi Arabia. (REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah/File Photo)
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The Kingdom had temporarily stopped moving crude through the strait on July 25 after attacks by Houthi militias in Yemen on two oil tankers sent shockwaves through global energy markets. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 05 August 2018

Saudi tankers ship oil again in Bab Al-Mandeb

  • Coalition takes ‘necessary measures’ to secure key Red Sea waterway
  • After Saudi Arabia halted shipments, the Houthis said they would also halt attacks in the Red Sea for two weeks to support peace efforts

DUBAI/LONDON:  Saudi Arabia has resumed oil shipments through the strategic Red Sea shipping lane of Bab Al-Mandeb.

The Kingdom had temporarily stopped moving crude through the strait on July 25 after attacks by Houthi militias in Yemen on two oil tankers sent shockwaves through global energy markets.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said: “The decision to resume oil shipment through the strait of Bab Al-Mandeb was made after the leadership of the coalition has taken necessary measures to protect the coalition states’ ships.”

The measures were taken “in co-ordination with the international community,” the minister said. 

Saudi Aramco also confirmed that shipping had resumed, effective immediately. “The company is careful to continue monitoring and evaluating the current situation in coordination with the relevant bodies and take all necessary procedures to ensure safety,” it said.

Saudi Arabia leads an Arab coalition against the Houthis to restore Yemen’s legitimate government, but the attacks on the tankers were the first time the conflict threatened to disrupt energy markets.

Houthis’ weapons hunt

The Bab Al-Mandeb strait is a narrow waterway connecting the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden in the Arabian Sea. 

After Saudi Arabia halted shipments, the Houthis said they would also halt attacks in the Red Sea for two weeks to support peace efforts.

The resumption of shipments through the waterway is good news for both consumers and oil companies who until now had been pondering the impact of either paying higher insurance premiums to use the channel or re-route exports around Africa.

Meanwhile, North Korea supplied weapons including ballistic missiles to the Houthis after a deal reached in Damascus in 2016, according to a report by a UN investigation team.

The report said Syrian arms trafficker Hussein Al-Ali offered “a range of conventional arms, and in some cases ballistic missiles to armed groups in Yemen and Libya.”


Thailand finance minister: economy to recover next year with 4% growth

Updated 23 November 2020

Thailand finance minister: economy to recover next year with 4% growth

  • Economy had bottomed but recovery was not fast as the battered tourism sector hurt supply chains
  • Budget for the next fiscal year will still focus on boosting domestic activity

BANGKOK: Thailand’s economy is expected to grow 4 percent in 2021 after a slump this year and fiscal policy will support a tourism-reliant economy struggling from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the finance minister said on Monday.
Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy shrank a less than expected 6.4 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier after falling 12.1 percent in the previous three months.
The economy had bottomed but recovery was not fast as the battered tourism sector, which accounts for about 12 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), has also hurt supply chains, Finance minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said.
“Without the COVID, our economy could have expanded 3 percent this year, he said. “As we expect a 6 percent contraction this year, there is the output gap of 9 percent,” he told a business forum.
“Next year, we expect 4 percent growth, which is still not 100 percent yet,” Arkhom said, adding it could take until 2022 to return to pre-pandemic levels.
There is still fiscal policy room to help growth from this year’s fiscal budget and some from rehabilitation spending, he said.
The budget for the next fiscal year will still focus on boosting domestic activity, Arkhom said, and the current public debt of 49 percent of GDP was manageable.
Of the government’s 1 trillion baht ($33 billion) borrowing plan, 400 billion would be for economic revival, of which about 120 billion-130 billion has been approved, Arkhom said.
He wants the Bank of Thailand to take more action short term on the baht, which continued to rise on Monday, despite central bank measures announced on Friday to rein in the currency strength.
“They have done that and they have their measures... which should be introduced gradually and more intensely,” Arkhom said.